Dandino was the big loser from the 2014 Caulfield Cup barrier draw that was held this afternoon, but jockey Craig Williams is confident that the talented stayer is good enough to overcome the outside barrier in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Managing co-owner Darren Dance said heading into the Caulfield Cup barrier draw that he would like to draw between barriers four and ten with Dandino, but he had no such luck and the Dansili gelding will instead jump from the outside gate after drawing barrier 22.
While Williams was disappointed with the 2014 Caulfield Cup barrier draw, he is happy with the physical condition of Dandino and is hopeful that he can got one better than he did when second behind Fawkner in last year’s race.
“It does mean that we need a lot more luck, but I am really happy with Dandino this year,” Williams said at the barrier draw.
“I was really happy and very confident with him last year and I will go into the Caulfield Cup this year with the same confidence.
“We will sit down and work out the barrier draw, but most importantly my horse is in really good order.
“Marco has only been asking us to tick him over and he hasn’t had any gallops where he has been asked to run time on the clock or be fully exposed.
“Every piece of work that we have done with him he has just been so enthusiastic and wants to do a lot more.
“He is giving me a great feel and is very similar to how he felt last year.
“We all but did it last year and take nothing away from the horse that beat us; Fawkner is winning all the Group 1s and probably goes into the Cox Plate as favourite.”
Dandino took winning form into the 2013 Caulfield Cup after taking out the American St Leger Stakes (2714m) at Arlington, but the seven-year-old has not been overly impressive during the 2014 Northern Hemisphere racing season and finished second in the American St Leger Stakes before finishing a disappointing fourth in the Group 3 September Stakes (2414m) at Kempton Park on September 6.
Williams admits that Dandino’s form has not been as strong as it was heading into the Caulfield Cup last year, but he said that the talented entire is giving him the exact same feel as he was 12 months ago.
“There is no doubt that when you look at his Timeform rating and the way that he has been racing this year coming into the Caulfield Cup that he doesn’t look like he is in as good a form as he was in last year, but you couldn’t make that comment on the way that he is working at Werribee at the moment,” Williams said.
Dandino is now out to 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of $14, while Lucia Valentina remains a clear favourite from Bande ($8.50) and Admire Rakti ($10).